Goals and problems in psychotherapy research
No new or compelling evidence is needed to establish the concept that one person can influence another’s inner psychological experience or external behavior by silently listening to him, by directing toward him certain combinations of sounds and words; by various facial expressions, gestures, and gross body movements; or by various kinds of physical contacts, such as touching, holding, striking, or caressing. These are facts of common sense and experience, recognized by everyone long before he has a language to give names to such a process and is able to wonder how it works. What we call psychotherapy is one institutionalized form of this process whereby one individual attempts to influence another. Other contexts supply other names for this process of human interactions: ritual dancing, confessing, brainwashing, inciting, reassuring. This psychotherapy, this treatment involving talking and listening, has come to occupy a prominent place on the cultural scene. Many words have been devoted to describing the process, revealing its essence, demonstrating the lofty humanism in it, showing its compatibility with religion, instructing future therapists, and reassuring patients. Everyone knows what psychotherapy is. But it is easier to write a plausible and convincing book explaining the subject and the method than to prove a single assertion about it with any degree of scientific rigor.
KeywordsPersonality Disorder Deviant Behavior Personality Theory Psychotherapy Research Evaluative Research
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Greenhill, M. H., et al. (Eds.). Evaluation in mental health. A review of the problem of evaluating mental health activities. Public Health Serv. Publ. No. 413. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, 1955.Google Scholar
- Herzog, E. Some guidelines in evaluative research. Washington, D.C.: Children’s Bureau, U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1959.Google Scholar
- Miller, N. E. Liberalization of basic S-R concepts: Extensions to conflict behavior, motivation, and social learning. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science, Vol. II. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959.Google Scholar
- Reznikoff, M. A., and Toomey, L. A. Evaluation of changes associated with psychiatric treatment. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, 1959.Google Scholar
- Rubinstein, E. A., and Parloff, M. B. (Eds.). Research in psychotherapy, Vol. I. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1959.Google Scholar
- Strupp, H. H., and Luborsky, L. (Eds.). Research in psychotherapy, Vol. II. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1962.Google Scholar